Interview: Danny Boyle: Slumdog Millionaire

After creating such films as 28 Days Later, The Beach and Sunshine, there was little that director Danny Boyle hadn't done. But then, in an attempt to prove everyone wrong, he made Slumdog Millionaire.

Depicting the tale of a young boy, attempting to overcome odds and answer the final question on India's 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,' Slumdog is a fresh, feel good film about life, love and the complexes of both. Starring Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor, the film comes alive with its unique style and direction.

A few weeks ago, was given the opportunity to speak with the famed director about the film and what is expected when working with a studio like Fox Searchlight.

CollegeMovieReview: How did you get attached to the project?

Danny Boyle: Well, the film is based on a great novel, written by a guy named Vikas Swarup. And a screenplay had been developed, and it was sent to me and I just loved it, I had to do it.

CMR: How did you get your leading stars?

DB We had casting calls. A lot of casting calls. And it actually got to the point where we were going to have to push back shooting because we hadn't found our lead guy yet. But then, at the last minute, we saw Dev Patal, and we knew we had found our guy.

CMR: The film was financed by Fox Searchlight, the leading independent studio who has a strong reputation for amazing films. Did their backing create an additional layer of pressure for you?

Not really. The thing about Searchlight is that they expect you to work. They expect for you to do interviews, to go around to festivals and to be available. That is why they are so successful. I have had the privilege of doing many films with them before Slumdog, and it has always been a pleasure. I couldn't ask for anything [better].

CMRWhile you were filming, did you know that you were creating something amazing, or did that not come until you had a final product?

DB: You don't make a movie unless you believe in it. I believe in Slumdog from day one, so I always felt we were making something special. But to go to festivals and screenings and see audiences really connect with the story and the characters, that is something special. You can never guess how an audience is going to react, so when they like it, you quickly realize that you have something special.

CMR: How important was the emotional rollercoaster to the film and its story?

DB: The story is like Charles Dickens. Indian cinema is very melodramatic, very rich and extreme. You get infected by that and Dickens is the closest thing in our culture to use as a reference point. Even the music in the movie is melodramatic because they don't want to hide it. I love that feeling.

CMR: Yea, you used MIA's 'Paper Planes' which was very cool.

BD: Oh yes, I love that song. I was so disappointed when it was in the trailer of Pineapple Express. (laughing) I want everyone to know that I had it in my film long before I saw that movie.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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